What a busy week! After a last-minute decision to fly up to the Gold Coast and meet up with Marathon Man Trent Morrow at the Gold Coast Marathon, I started serious training with Ben this week, ending in a half-marathon at Dolls Point in Botany Bay, Sydney, today.
A short one-hour flight up north saw me landing in sunny and warm South Queensland, and after a quick stop to collect my bib number at the Race Expo, I made my way to my hotel in Surfers Paradise. Saturday night fever was in full swing by the time I caught up with Samantha, Andrew and a couple of runner buddies for our pasta dinner watching the Wallabies vs Lions on TV. After a short night, it was up for breakfast at 6am and getting ready for a 7.20am marathon start. The stunning sunrise helped to warm up our cold bodies while we waited at the start line and within a couple of kilometres into the race we all felt warm and ready to push. Trent, the Marathon Man, caught up with me and we had a great chat for a few while until I took off a bit faster than I should have, leaving him behind chatting to other runners. Trent is currently attempting a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for most marathon races run in a calendar year. His 70th at the Gold Coast proved to be gold as he finished in a new PB. I on the other hand, had some good 51′ and 53′ minutes splits for the first two 10kms, but slowly faded away, and when Marathon Man passed me at km 18 I knew was is going to be a battle. The third 10km where already a sign when I passed the 30-km mark at a 61′ split, and the last 12km where a real struggle to keep the momentum up. Sadly I missed my 4-hours target by 11 minutes.
After a few photo opportunities with Marathon Man it was straight back to the hotel, a shower, lunch and the airport for my flight back to Sydney. I am glad I went up and raced this marathon without Ben, as I haven’t raced on my own for quite a while.
On Monday, it was straight back into it with Ben doing speed sessions in a cold and dark Sydney. The rest of the week passed quickly, and after our long Saturday run I decided to sign us up last-minute for the Sri Chinmoy half-marathon just south of my home in Dolls Point along Botany Bay. Ben had already heavy legs from the 60+ km we put in during the week and we both knew this was going to be a battle. Ben used some newish inlays in his shoes, and together with new socks, they seemed to bother him a lot, and after about 15km into the race he needed to stop and loosen up his shoes to reduce the pain in his feet.
He did well to keep going and happily we reached the finish in 2 hours 23 minutes, and after a quick lay-down on a park bench it was time to get home for brunch. A busy and hard week for Ben, no doubt, but it was also a week that showed what’s ahead of us.
His dream is to finish the full monty at the CP Ultra in September and to cross the finish for the 100 kilometres in 11 hours 59 minutes. That would probably get him a Guinness Book of Record entry – as the first blind runner under 12 hours for 100 kilometres.
Have a look at this short video showing me guiding Ben during the half-marathon today.
The next two days are off for Ben – resting, ice bathing and blister healing is on the cards. Wednesday it starts all over again with some serious hill training… Happy days!